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The 72-Hour Parking Limit
updated: Mar 28, 2014, 11:10 AM

By Joseph Skup

Help, my car was unlawfully towed from a public street. What can I do?

Hi Edhatters. So last week I was served a notice that my car could be towed if it wasn't moved within 72 hours. At the time, I felt relieved. "Phew--Just a warning. I can't afford another parking ticket for street- sweeping day." In-fact, that was the first time I've ever received such notice of the 72-hour parking limit on unmarked public streets. Slowly, anger crept hold of me, "I can't even park at my own residency because it's a 'commercial zone' and all the freaking lots are owned by yoga centers & hair salons! I have to park in 5 blocks away from my home on a public street, in fear of which day of the week it is because of street- sweepers. And now you are telling me I can't even leave on a four-day work trip without having to worry of my car being marked as 'abandoned'? What gives?!"

And then it got me wondering, how does the parking agency keep track of such citations, and car positions for that matter, anyway? If I were to defend myself in a court of law, how could I prove that I moved the car in-between the time that the parking officer last saw it and revisited it? Nowhere on the notice did it say how far the vehicle needed to be moved. And what if I did move it up a block or down a block..but, let say the parking officer forgot exactly on which block it had been, and fined me anyway?

But, being the upstanding, law-abiding citizen that I am, I moved my car down a block, and to the other side.

A few days elapsed where I drove the car off and on, up until the last time it was used--on Monday night-- when I took it out to get a late-night snack. Sure enough, today when I was going to move my car before this limit expired (Thursday night) it was towed.

I feel that this was unlawful because (1) the vehicle was still technically under the 72-hour limit since it had last been parked and (2) it was towed without any prior notice since the last time it was parked.

But, obviously this is a tricky subject to contest, as well as to defend, since we all know that there is no way that any party can prove, with absolute certainty based on _recollection_, that the car stayed at the same exact spot during this time period. But I feel that this case should be in my favor, given my alibi & circumstances.

What would you guys do to represent yourself as best as possible and contest a police towing if you felt it was unlawful?

Thank you.


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